Steel and fiber blends impart unique characteristics to concrete.
Steel and fiber blends impart unique characteristics to concrete.

The concrete industry was introduced to the benefits of synthetic fiber reinforcement a quarter of a century ago. Since then, the industry has embraced this valuable technology in numerous applications. Its steady growth is attributed to the time and labor savings as compared with placing alternate reinforcement materials and the additional concrete property benefits.

Synthetic microfibers are manufactured from synthetic materials and must tolerate the long-term alkaline environment common to concrete. Early-age concrete that uses these fibers has reduced shrinkage and settlement cracks. The hardened state features shatter resistance, increased impact and abrasion resistance, and lower permeability.

Fiber reinforcement has been used widely in slab-on-ground construction, but has expanded into other applications. Among the most appropriate and appreciated applications are elevated metal deck assemblies. The economics of pumping concrete that includes a hybrid system of fiber reinforcement as opposed to the time and labor intensity of hoisting and placing alternate reinforcement is significant.

Read more highlights from 50 Years of Concrete Construction Progress.